Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Merry Go Round

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Regardless of my good intentions I seem to stay on the merry go round of the same routine, the same issues and the same responses. The rude driver still elicits irritation and a sense of self righteous affliction. How dare he/she insinuate I am a slow, incompetent driver. And let’s not forget the Slow Sally going ten miles or more under the speed limit. I am ashamed to admit I become the rude driver and barrel around them, just to prove my point. Why?

Add an issue at work and the merry go round gains speed and I find myself locked in place by centrifugal force.

I tried using mediation CD's during my commute, soothing music or nature sounds. It sort of worked. What would work is a change of attitude, a change in my thought patterns. Nothing new there, yet why is it so hard to implement and then stick to it? I found the answer in my devotions. No surprise there.


Richard Rohr stated, “Forgiving is actually letting go”. Letting go of the anger, the resentment, the feeling of righteousness, letting go of ego driven thoughts. So what if that driver is in such a hurry they feel they must cut me off and be generally rude? It is their problem, not mine. (As long as life and limb are not at stake).

That is the real issue, ownership. Their anger, unhappiness and rudeness is not mine. I do not own it. I did not create it. And because of that, I do not need to respond to it. I can let it go. It is a reflection on them, not me. My self-worth is not tied into what they think or how they act toward me. In actuality, once they blow past, I am not in their thoughts at all. So why carry the anger, the hostility or any other feeling around with me? It’s time to shrug it off, and let it go.

So I've managed not to own the other person’s anger, hostility and unhappiness. Now what? Simple, prayer. Yes, I've prayed for help on numerous occasions and I believe prayer helps, not always physically, but definitely spiritually and mentally. However, my prayer is usually self-centered. I pray for God to help me handle the situation, make me a better person, give me the wisdom and the knowledge needed to diffuse and fix the issues. That’s not the prayer I should pray in every situation. There is another kind of prayer that is more effective when dealing with others' behavior. Praying for them. 

What if I asked God to help them, give them peace, heal their hurt – and then I let it go? I tried it. Guess what? In the case of a personal issue, the person softened their position and a peaceful resolution followed. Did that occur because of the change in their attitude or mine? Both maybe? 

As for the rude driver or Slow Sally, by thinking of someone else, I diffused my feelings and consequently felt less anger and irritation and the whole world looked different. No surprise there. 

It seems so simple. Just let go and follow the two greatest commandments: Love God with my whole heart and whole mind, and love my neighbor as myself – not as I love, but as God loves. Simple, but at the same time hard. However, with practice and repetition it can become a habit.

I have thought of a little mantra to help keep me focused during trials, particularly times of personal failure brought to my attention in a rude or hurtful manner. I believe it will help me stay off that merry go round of anger, resentment, impatience, disgust and despair: God and my mother still love me.

If I let go of the negativity and let others live their lives without my trying to own it, fix it or critique it, I bet I'll find that elusive sense of peace, the one the world cannot give. It only comes from obeying God's two greatest commandments and letting the rest go - especially my grip on that hateful merry go round.  

2 comments:

  1. God has been speaking to me over and over again lately, so He must want to make a point. I am reading Unglued - making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions, by Lysa Terkeurst, and our pastor addressed this this morning with the encouragement to reprogram our thoughts and get off the loop we play in our heads...renew our minds in Him. Thanks for posting this piece, I am listening Lord.

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    1. Get off the loop, I like that, Janette. Sometimes it does feel like a continuous loop around and around. God can sure be a nag, can't He? Repeating it over and over again, trying to get us to understand, accept and change. Glad He has as a lot of patience!

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